Monday, October 10, 2011

The harmful effects of greed.

"Avoid greed in all its forms."
The real American idol seems to me to be greed...  I've been reading St. John again, so I'll share some things he says about it.  Something to think about.
"The greedy... their appetite and joy is already so extended and dispersed amongst creatures - and with such anxiety - that they cannot be satisfied. The more their appetite and thirst increases, the further they regress from God, the font which alone can satisfy them.  God himself refers to these individuals through Jeremias: 'They have abandoned me, the font of living water, and dug for themselves leaky cisterns that cannot hold water.' [Jer. 2:13]  The reason for this dissatisfaction is that creatures do not slake the thirst, but rather intensify it.
These greedy persons fall into all kinds of sins out of love for temporal goods, and the harm they suffer is indeterminable. 
The avaricious man, because of temporal goods, is unconcerned about setting his heart on God's law, and consequently his will, memory, and intellect wander far from God, and he forgets him, as though he were not his God at all.  The reason is that he has made gods out of temporal goods and money.  St. Paul indicates this in declaring that avarice is a form of idolatry. [Col. 3:15]
Many in the world today, their reason darkened through covetousness, serve money and not God, and they are motivated by money rather than by God, and they give first consideration to the temporal price and not to the divine value and reward.  In countless ways they make money their principal god and goal and give it precedence to God, their ultimate end.
Likewise included in this category are all those miserable souls who value earthly goods as their god and are so enamored of them that they do not hesitate to sacrifice their lives when they observe that this god of theirs undergoes some temporal loss.  They despair and commit suicide for wretched reasons, and demonstrate with their own hands the miserable reward that comes from such a god.  Since there is nothing to hope for from him, he gives despair and death." - John of the Cross, Ascent, Bk III, Ch 20
I think what we are witnessing today is envy and greed at work:  Festering and oozing out all over - even religious people are not immune to it.
Art: The Worship of Mammon, Evelyn de Morgan


  1. When the Prodigal Son fell in with the hogs to eat corncobs (corncobs never quench hunger) it was sin that this example referred to.

    The hogs were demons.

    When we fall into mortal sin we are in league with demons.

    The greater part of the story besides God's willingness to forgive us is about greed, and envy.

    They are inseparable.

    The brother in his greed, rebuked his father for having forgiven the greed of the younger brother.

    The envious brother had true greed.

    We can claim righteousness, like the brother did, but in our hearts poisonous greed still lurks.

    Pray, and ask our Mother to remove any greed and envy there may be in your heart.

    When you think there is no greed to be found in your soul, look around at all the cheap trinkets that surround you, and look further to those poor souls that carry everything they own in shopping carts as you drive by them on your way to Mass.

    Greed is hard to get rid of.

    We need Heaven's help to get over it.

    May God our Lord in His infinite and supreme goodness be pleased to give us His abundant grace, that we may know His most holy will, and entirely fulfill it.


  2. So the million dollar question is - is owning things, is having nice things, is being wealthy always sinful? Is comfort always bad?

    And anyone who has access to this blog is "rich" by the standards of the world, by the standards of human beings in history, even if not by American standards.

  3. Mercury--I think being wealthy is not a sin, only if you are consumed with your money...

    We can have houses, clothes, cars ,etc..the real sin is think is if we become miserly with our money an not use it to help others in need.

    Bill and Melinda Gates have TREMENDOUS amount of money and net worth, yet they can use their wealth to set up carities and foundations which do a great deal of good..and I'm sure they don't live in a two bedroom shack on the other side of the tracks..

    You can't take it with you.


  4. Thats what I thought Sarah, but sometimes I get the impression from the saints that liking anything in this world at all makes us worthy of hell.

  5. Austringer10:59 AM

    I know that I am susceptible to the love of money and of temporal goods, but in a much more subtle and insidious way: I want security. I would very hate and fear not being able to pay my bills, or not being able to make a house payment. I would suspect that this desire for security afflicts and infects more people than does a desire for riches.


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